Museum Studies in Motion Fall 2013
Be at the Center of Things
Volume 6, Issue 1
E-NEWSLETTER OF THE MUSEUM STUDIES PROGRAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE
Summertime Coups Achievements from Museum Studies students' Summer 2013 internships With museums ranging in size from the very large to the very small and dedicated to nearly every subject imaginable, the landscape of museum practice is nothing if not diverse. For Museum Studies students, internships are key to exploring this landscape and to developing the skills and knowledge necessary to launch a career in the field. This past summer students interned at a number of small institutions and organizations, which are often ideal settings for gaining exposure to the many aspects of museum work. Some completed internships in specific areas. Lauren Brincat, for instance, was a Collections and Exhibitions Intern at the Huntington Historical Society in New York, while Emily Miller was a Curatorial Intern at LancasterHistory.org in Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, interns found themselves being pulled in muliple directions as different departments sought to utilize their talents. This was especially true for Hannah Blad, who "did a bit Jodi Frederiksen helps with summer of everything" during her internship at Historic New Carlisle in Indiana, including fundraising, exhibit preparations, and cataloging. cleanup at the Middletown Historical Society
Anastasia Day, who interned at the Glessner House Museum in Chicago, had a similar experience. She explains, "On Mondays and Tuesdays, I would work under the director and curator of the museum. My main project was to continue the work of scanning and cataloging boxes of photographs, negatives, and cyanotypes of the Glessners' New Hampshire summer estate. Every Tuesday morning I would facilitate a summer program that catered to familes with children. Wednesday I would spend in the office of the assistant to the director doing mailings, entering donated gifts, organizing records, and designing newsletters. Thursday I would spend cataloging samples in the Clarke House. Friday would be the day I spent in the visitor's center, where I issued tickets, oriented visitors, and ran purchases in the gift shop."
In this issue...
Summer Internships, pg. 1 A Message from the Director, pg. 2 Alumni Profile: Mark Thompson, pg. 3 New Internship Coordinator Joins Staff, pg. 4 Sustaining Places Fall Workshops, pg. 5 Updates from 2013 Grads, pg. 6
Interns seized the opportunity to learn new skills and build on their existing skills. Assisting with the Glessner House's summer programs, Anastasia learned how to parlay her experience working with children into creating and managing youth programming. Meanwhile Emily polished her research, writing, and social media talents as she maintained a blog on the history of selected objects in the collection of LancasterHistory.org. You can read her posts at Learning, Living, Lancaster, which investigates a number of fascinating topics, like the history of brewing in Lancaster, the popularity of minstrel shows, and the footwear of Thaddeus Stevens. (continued on pg. 4)
Director's Message Kasey Grier, PhD email@example.com The Museum Studies Program has a lot of news, so let’s get started! First--we’re growing! Thirty-six students are on our roster, representing five departments and programs. Many of them have arrived here at Delaware with an impressive set of skills and experiences behind them. We are developing new courses to meet their needs and address the rapidly-evolving employment picture in museums and related cultural organizations. One important step is a new array of five-week minicourses for one credit, focusing on specific skills. For Spring 2014, we will be offering mini-courses on development and fundraising and on desktop publishing skills. For 2014-2015, we anticipate offering mini-courses on special event planning, visitor surveying techniques, and development. These courses allow us to take advantage of the accomplished professionals in our community, folks who are willing and eager to work with students but cannot devote an entire semester to teaching.
Kasey Grier with the 2012-13 graduate assistants
to hear your comments on this issue. Internships have been a “hot topic” on Museum-L this fall, and it seems that many organizations are rethinking their approach to these important avenues for professional training. This leads to my annual appeal for your support to the Museum Studies Program. The Edward P. Alexander Fund is an invaluable resource, but it cannot meet the needs of our students for financial support during their summer internships. We are fortunate that many do receive at least a small stipend from their hosting institutions, but they also make substantial sacrifices, including taking out additional student loans and working part-time above and beyond their internship hours.
Pauline Eversmann, who has served Museum Studies well as our internship coordinator, has retired, and I am pleased to introduce Mary Jane Taylor, a staff member at the National Constitution Center and a former educator at the Winterthur Museum. Mary Jane and I are working to revise our guidelines My number-one fundraising priority is to build this endowment so that, in time, students are able to for internships. choose worthwhile internship experiences from museums with limited budgets and work full-time As always, one of the issues we are thrashing out is whether every organization who takes on a Dela- at their internships. I ask that you keep us in mind as you plan your end-of-year charitable contribuware summer intern should be required to contribtions. ute at least a small stipend. I would be interested
A Look Ahead: The Sustaining Places Project We are almost through the second year of our three-year IMLS grant, Sustaining Places, and a lot is happening. I want to call your attention to our website, www.sustainingplaces.com, which is growing steadily under the stewardship of our webmaster Stephanie Lampkin. The site is an encyclopedia of resources for small historical organizations, which includes media projects (narrated PowerPoints and short videos) created by Museum Studies students. We also list news about upcoming workshops; this spring’s offerings include adaptive collections storage in historic structures, planning for historical archaeology at your historic site, and developing a comprehensive communications strategy for your organization. If you want to keep up with Sustaining Places, e-mail us at sustainingplaces@udel. edu. We’ll put you on the mailing list. By Kasey Grier 2
Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Spring 2013
Alumni Spotlight Mark Thompson, MSST '04 Twenty years into his legal career, Mark Thompson decided a change was in order. Switching paths, he received a master's degree in history and certificate in museum studies from the University of Delaware in 2004. After serving as director of Portland Harbor Museum for six years and a short stint as a regional director at Maine Maritime Museum, he was appointed director of Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum (JPPM) in St. Leonard, Maryland in 2011. You started your career as a lawyer. What attracted you to a career in museums instead? After practicing law for 20 years, I decided that I needed a change. I was living in Florida at the time, and I became aware of Florida State’s program in Historical Administration and Public History. I’ve always enjoyed visiting museums and historic houses, but I never really thought much about a career in museums. The more I read about the profession, the more convinced I became that I would enjoy being involved in the field.
without the assistance of a dedicated staff and a team of committed volunteers. What are your goals for JPPM going forward?
How did you acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to make that transition?
JPPM is often described as one of Maryland’s best kept secrets. I would rather that it be known as a leader in engaging the public. We need to be more outwardoriented in our approach. We are sometimes referred to informally as the State Museum of Archaeology. To live up to this “characterization,” we need to focus on serving the public, from the casual visitor to the academic community, both locally and statewide.
I thought about applying to work in the General Counsel’s office of a larger museum, but I really wanted to do something different. To move in an entirely new direction, I realized that I would need more education. I applied to several programs and then visited the schools that accepted me. Almost from the moment that I drove into Newark, I knew that I wanted to attend the University of Delaware. I received a Master's in History and Certificate in Museum Studies in 2004.
In pursuit of these goals, we have looked for ways to make our site more visitor-friendly. Our grounds are now open every day. Our Visitor Center is open in the spring, summer, and fall seven days a week. We have removed barriers that once discouraged visitors from exploring the landscape. We are looking at ways to expand our trail system. We are improving some of our museum spaces to make them more engaging for families.
What brought you to JPPM? What are your responsibilities there?
What advice do you have for emerging museum professionals, especially those pursuing museum studies as a second career?
Three days after graduation, I started as the director of a small maritime museum in Maine. After six years, I initiated a merger of the museum with Maine Maritime Museum. I worked at Maine Maritime Museum for several months as a regional director, but I think everyone involved with the merger sensed that I wanted to serve as a museum’s executive director. As with my first impression of Newark, I knew almost from the outset of my interview at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum that I would accept the position, if it was offered.
My two pieces of advice inter-relate: persevere and stay involved. The museum field can be discouraging, especially for new graduates. The work that we do is important, but in some cases, underappreciated. Many emerging professionals are underpaid given the contribution that they make to the community. Nonetheless, the work is immensely fulfilling. With perseverance and experience, there are opportunities for professionals of any age to move up in the field.
JPPM occupies 560 acres with 33 buildings, 66 archaeological sites, eight million artifacts, and a conservation laboratory. We have 31 employees and close to 60,000 people visit each year. On the one hand, I’m in charge of supervising the day-to-day operations of the park. On the other hand, I’m also responsible for spearheading any large initiatives such as strategic planning. It’s a “never a dull moment” type of position. Of course, almost nothing would be accomplished
It’s important to stay involved in the museum community. Don’t be shy about volunteering to serve on professional boards and committees. Conferences and workshops offered by state, regional and national museum associations present an invaluable opportunity to network. “Sharing notes” with colleagues outside the workplace can provide some needed perspective on your own experiences.
Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Spring 2013
Pauline Eversmann Retires as Internship Coordinator Mary Jane Taylor Comes on Board This winter Pauline Eversmann will be retiring from her position as Internship Coordinator, which she has held since 2008. Pauline had been involved in the Museum Studies Program teaching “Museum Education” for several years before accepting the position. During that time, she has been a great asset to the program as a teacher, colleague, and mentor. Pauline took an admittedly circuitous route to the museum profession. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, she decided to pursue history at the graduate level first at the University of California, Berkeley and then Yale University, where she studied medieval constitutional history. Since childhood she had planned to teach at the college level. “Don’t ask me where I got the hubris at age ten to think I could,” she jokes. But she found the prospect of spending long hours doing research in archives increasingly unappealing, and decided to look into other options.
When she and her family moved to Wilmington in 1976, Pauline took a part-time job as a tour guide at Winterthur. “Prior to taking that job,” she explains, “I had no knowledge of decorative arts or material culture. But I fell in love with it all and stayed at Winterthur for the next twenty-six years.” At the time of her retirement in 2007, she was Director of Library, Collection Management, and Academic Programs. She points out, “I got there without a Ph.D. This is why I tell students not to assume that their careers will follow a straight and narrow path. You have to be open to what the world offers you, and sometimes you have to follow your heart. It can take you to strange and wonderful places.” Pauline says she will miss working with the new class of Museum Studies students, but that she has a constant reminder of her wonderful career in her coterie of colleagues and friends. “No one could have asked for more,” she remarks. “And now it’s time to let someone else have this remarkable privilege.” That someone appropriately is Winterthur Program alumna Mary Jane Taylor. Mary Jane was on the staff of Winterthur for thirteen years before joining the National Constitution Center in 2009. She currently serves as their Research and Evaluation Manager. In her new role as Internship Coordinator, Mary Jane has hit the ground running, reviewing internship procedures and meeting with students. Please join us in heartily welcoming her to the program! Mary Jane Taylor
(continued from pg. 1) Small museums present their own set of challenges, and working at one isn't for everyone. Hannah Blad observed, "Yes, they are a lot of work. But I found it rewarding and loved having to always be creative." One important caveat: it is critical to start looking for summer internships early. Many internship programs, especially ones that compensate their interns, have application deadlines as early as March. For further information, please review the revised Guidelines for Museum Studies Internships and direct questions to Mary Jane Taylor, Internship Coordinator. Anastasia Day helps children cut patterns at a "Terrific Tuesday" event
Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Spring 2013
Museum Studies Harvest Happy Hour
Pictured enjoying the festivities are (left to right): Top left: Della Keyser and Jennifer Ferris; Bottom left: Nicole Belolan and Kasey Grier; Above: Kelsey Ransick, Anastasia Day, Kevin Philip Williams, Bryan Thompson-Nowak, and Lee Roueche
SP Website Redesigned
Fall Workshops Well-Received
Nicole Belolan and Stephanie Lampkin, graduate assistants for Sustaining Places, have been busy re-organizing the project's website. Sections were organized to correspond to museum departments, thus increasing the website's searchability. New pages, including Living Collections, Accessibility, and Pest Management, have been added, and new resources are available under "Collections-Specific Advice" on the Collections Care page. "Collections Databases" also has been added to the Collections Management page, as well as additional resources on the Fundraising and Disaster Preparedness pages.
During the fall, Sustaining Places ran two professional development workshops. In September, bug man Tom Parker was back by popular demand with a repeat workshop on "Uninvited Guests: Integrated Preventive Pest Management for Museums, Historic Properties, Libraries, and Archives." Then in November, UD grad students Nicole Belolan and Jodi Frederiksen teamed up with Michele Anstine, Assistant CEO of the Delaware Historical Society, to lead a workshop on collection storage called "Museum Storage Wars: Designing Creative Collections Storage on a Budget for Your Small Museum." Be sure to visit our Workshop News & Registration page for updates about spring workshops.
Museum Studies in Motion - University of Delaware - Spring 2013
Catch Up with 2013 Grads Della Hall moved to Fairbanks, Alaska last summer for an internship at the Pioneer Air Museum. She happily reports that she has since joined the staff at the University of Alaska Museum of the North as a curatorial assistant. She writes, "I am continuing to work four hours a week at PAM cataloging, and am bracing myself for 40 degrees below zero!" Ashley Lynn Hlebinsky is on the curatorial staff of the Cody Firearms Museum, Buffalo Bill Center of the West. In addition to being featured by NRA's Third Century, Ashley Lynn has done several television appearances on the history of firearms. Look for her upcoming article in the Spring 2014 issue of American Handgunner. Kelli Huggins is the new Education Coordinator at the Chemung County Historical Society in Elmira, NY. "It is a great job because this region has an amazing history, and I have a lot of creative freedom in coming up with programs that explore it." Kelsey Ransick is working at two wonderful sites. She is the curator at Arden Craft Shop Museum, "which means that I do a bit of everything," and she is the Woodfin Fellow at Newlin Grist Mill, "which again means that I do a bit of everything." She looks forward to launching a new website for NGM that she designed and to some major processing projects in the archives. Lee Roueche is living in Philadelphia, where she is on the staff of the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. As Digital Media Manager, she maintains various museum websites and social media accounts. She writes, "I am really enjoying the new city and my new career!"
Introducing New Graduate Assistants This year the Museum Studies Program welcomes two new graduate assistants, Nicole Belolan and Della Keyser, who join veteran Stephanie Lampkin. As a graduate assistant for Sustaining Places, Nicole collaborates with Stephanie to develop and coordinate workshops for small museums in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. In November, she drew on her considerable experience in collection management to co-lead a workshop on museum collections storage. A Ph.D. candidate in the History of American Civilization Program, she is completing a dissertation on material culture and disability in early America. For her assistantship, Della serves as editor of MuseWeekly and Museum Studies in Motion. A Hagley Fellow on the master's degree track, she also manages the Museum Studies lending library and compiles alumni information. She and history graduate student Jennifer Ferris will be uploading this information to Historypin so that anyone interested in or connected to the Museum Studies program can see where our students have interned and the awesome places our alumni work.
The Museum Studies Program at the University of Delaware 77 East Main Street | Newark, DE 19711 (302) 831-1251 http://www.udel.edu/museumstudies firstname.lastname@example.org Katherine (Kasey) Grier, Director Tracy Jentzsch, Staff Assistant Nicole Belolan, Graduate Assistant Della Keyser, Graduate Assistant Stephanie Lampkin, Graduate Assistant
Della Hall (r) returns an umiak to the University of Alaska Museum of the North's collections storage
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